Roscoe Heyward frowned slightly. He supposed in the whole matter of Q-Investments there was some mild irregularity, though in view of the bank's commitment to Supranational, and vice versa, it didn't seem too serious. He had raised the matter in a confidential memo to Jerome Patterton a month or so ago.
G.G. Quartermain of Supranational phoned me twice yesterday from New York about a personal project of his called Q-Investments. This is a small private group of which Quartermain (Big George) is the principal, and our own director, Harold Austin, is a member. The group has already bought large blocks of common stock of various Supranational enterprises at advantageous terms. More purchases are planned.
What Big George wants from us is a loan to Q-Investments of $1 million at the same low rate as the Supranational loan, though without any requirement of a compensating balance. He points out that the SuNatCo compensating balance will be ample to offset this personal loan which is true, though of course there is no cross guarantee.
I might mention that Harold Austin also telex phoned me to urge that the loan be made.
The Honorable Harold, in fact, had bluntly reminded Heyward of a quid pro quota debt for Austin's strong support at the time of Ben Rosselli's death. It was a support which Heyward would continue to need when Patterton the interim Pope retired in eight months' time. The memo to Patterton continued:
Frankly, the interest rate on this proposed loan is too low, and waiving a compensating balance would be a large concession. But in view of the Supranational business which Big George has given us, I think we would be wise to go along. I recommend the loan. Do you agree?
Jerome Patterton had sent the memo back with a laconic penciled Yes against the final question. Knowing Patterton, Heyward doubted if he had given the whole thing more than a cursory glance.
Heyward had seen no reason why Alex Vandervoort need be involved, nor was the loan large enough to require approval by the money policy committee. Therefore, a few days later, Roscoe Heyward had initialed approval himself, which he had authority to do.
What he did not have authority for and had reported to no one was a personal transaction between himself and G. G. Quartermain.
During their second telephone conversation about Qlnvestments, Big George calling from a SuNatCo offshbot in Chicago had said, "Been talking to Harold Austin about you, Roscoe. We both think it’s time you got involved in our investment group. Like to have you with us. So what I've done is allot two thousand shares which we'll regard as fully paid for. They're nominee certificates endorsed in blank more discreet that way. I'll have 'em put in the mail."
Heyward had demurred. 'Thank you, George, but I don't believe I should accept." "For Chrissakes, why not?" - "It would be unethical."
Big George had guffawed. "This is the real world, Roscoe. Same kind of thing happens between clients and bankers all the time. You know it. I know it."
Yes, Heyward knew, it did happen, though not "all the time," as Big George claimed, and Heyward had never let it happen to himself.
Before he could answer, Quartermain persisted, "Listen, fella, don't be a damn fool. If it makes you feel better well say the shares are in return for your investment advice."
But Heyward knew he had given no investment advice, either then or subsequently.
A day or two later, the Q-Investments share certificates arrived by registered airmail, in an envelope with elaborate seals, and marked STRICTLY PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL. even Dora Callaghan hadn't opened that one.
At home that evening, studying the Q-Investments financial statement which Big George had also supplied, Heyward realized his two thousand shares had a net asset value of twenty thousand dollars. Later, if Q-Investments prospered or went public, their worth would be much greater.
At that point he had every intention of returning the shares to G. G. Quartermain; then, reassessing his own precarious finances no better than they had been several months ago he hesitated. Finally he yielded to temptation and later that week put the certificates in his safe deposit box at FMA's main downtown branch. It was not, Heyward rationalized, as if he had deprived the bank of money. He hadn't. In fact, because of Supranational, the reverse was true. So if Big George chose to make a friendly gift, why be churlish and refuse it?
But his acceptance still worried him a little, especially since Big George had telephoned at the end of last week this time from Amsterdam seeking an additional half million dollars for Q-Investments. "There's a unique chance for our Q group to pick up a block of stock over here in Guilderland that's certain to be high flying. Can't say too much on an open line, Roscoe, so trust me."
"I do, of course, George," Heyward had said, "but the bank will need details."
"You'll get 'em by courier tomorrow." To which Big George had added pointedly, "Don't forget you're one of us now."
Briefly, Heyward had a second uneasy feeling: G. G. Quartermain might be paying more attention to his private investments than to management of Supranational. But the next day's news had reassured him. The Wall Street Journal and other papers carried prominent stories about a major, Quartermain-engineered industrial takeover by SuNatCo in Europe. It was a commercial coup d'etat which sent Supranational shares soaring on the New York and London markets and made FMA's loan to the corporate giant seem even sounder.
As Heyward entered his outer office, Mrs. Callaghan offered him her usual matronly smile. The other messages are on your desk, sir."
He nodded, but inside pushed the pile aside. He hesitated over papers which had been prepared, but were not yet approved, concerning the additional Q-Investments loan. Then he dismissed that too, and, using a phone which was a direct outside line, dialed the number of paradise.
"Rossie, sweetie," Avril whispered as the tip of her tongue explored his ear, "you're hurrying too much. Waitl Lie stilll Stilll Hold backl" She stroked his naked shoulder, then his spine, her fingernails hovering, sharp but gossamer light.
Heyward moaned a mixture of savored, sweetest pleasure, pain, and postponed fulfillment as he obeyed. She whispered again, "I’ll be worth waiting, I promise."
He knew it would be. It always was. He wondered again how someone so young and beautiful could have learned so much, be so emancipated. .. uninhibited… gloriously wise.
"Not yet, Rossiel Darling, not yet There That's good. Be patient!"
Her hands, skilled and knowing, went on exploring. He let his mind and body float, knowing from experience it was best to do everything… exactly as… she said. "Oh, that's good, Rossie. Isn't it lovely?" He breathed, "Yes. Yes!" "Soon, Rossie. Very soon."
Beside him, over the bed's two pillows, close together, Avril's red hair tumbled. Her kisses had devoured him. The ambrosial, heady fragrance of her filled his nostrils. Her marvelous, willowy, willing body was beneath him. This, his senses shouted, was the best of life, of earth and heaven, here and now.
The only bittersweet sadness was that he had waited so many years to find it. Again Avril's lips searched for his and found them She urged him, "Now, Rossie! Now, sweetie! Now!'
The bedroom, as Heyward had observed when he arrived, was standard Hilton clean, efficiently comfortable, and a characterless box. A compact sitting room of the same genre was outside; on this occasion, as on the others, Avril had taken a suite.
They had been here since late afternoon. After the lovemaking they had dozed, awakened, made love again though not with entire success then slept for an hour more. Now both were dressing. Heyward's watch showed eight o'clock.
He was exhausted, physically drained. More than anything else he wanted to go home and go to bed alone. He wondered how soon he could decently slip away.
Avril had been outside in the sitting room, telephoning. When she returned, she said! "I ordered dinner for us, sweetie. It'll be up soon." 'That's wonderful, my dear."
Avril had put on a filmy slip and pantyhose. No bra. She began brushing her long hair which had become disordered. He sat on the bed watching her, despite his tiredness aware that every movement she made was lithe and sensuous. Compared with Beatrice, whom he was used to seeing daily, Avril was so young. Suddenly he felt depressingly old.
They went into the sitting room where Avril said, "Let's open the champagne."
It was on a sideboard in an ice bucket. Heyward had noticed it earlier. By this time most of the ice had melted but the bottle was still cold. He fumbled inexpertly with wire and cork.